A/N from Xanti: Apologies for the delay of this last chapter, it has been sitting on my to do list for well over a month.

Huge thanks to Ash for agreeing to co-write this story with me, it wouldn't have come out half as good without her. Thanks also to everyone who gave us feedback. It was only the second story that either of us had written and to get such a great response, was very encouraging. We had so much fun writing it and we're glad you got a few giggles along the way as well.

A/N from Ash: I have to say that I must thank Xanti for being a wonderful (if not slow at moments) partner. I couldn't have written this story with anyone else, and I doubt that I could have. I am truly thankful for our friendship, however freaky at times. ;-) Hope that everyone enjoys the story, and thanks to ALL the support that we have gotten.

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Chapter 9: It started in low. Then it started to grow.

They sat in silence, savoring the closeness of each other. Sara idly stroked the strong hands that held her and Grissom occasionally nuzzled her neck, placing lingering kisses on her soft skin.

"I could definitely get used to this," sighed Sara, as Grissom kissed her collarbone once more.

"That's good," replied Grissom. "Because I plan on making a habit of it," he said, pulling her closer to his chest.

Sara smiled to herself, almost purring with contentment. "Hey, can I ask you a question?" she asked, playing with the butterfly that hung on her necklace.

"You just did," Grissom replied with a grin.

"Griss, you know what I meant!" Sara said, smacking his thigh playfully.

"Ow, that hurt," he pouted.

"Oh, poor baby," Sara teased. "Anyway, I was just wondering if there was any particular reason that you chose a butterfly?" she asked.

Grissom was silent as thought about his answer. There were so many reasons why a butterfly had seemed the perfect choice but he didn't want to bore Sara to death with a hundred and one different quotes.

"Griss?" Sara questioned, misunderstanding his silence.

"Sorry," replied Grissom, giving her a reassuring squeeze. "I was just gathering my thoughts," he said. "There is a Native American legend that says, 'If you have a secret wish, capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. Since butterflies cannot speak, your secret is ever safe in their keeping. Release the butterfly, and it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature, and your wish will surely be granted'," he explained.

"That's beautiful," whispered Sara.

"Yes it is," agreed Grissom quietly. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that...you're my secret wish Sara. Although it defies scientific reason, I had somehow hoped that by giving you the butterfly, my wish would be granted."

Sara released herself from Grissom arms and turned herself around to look at him. Her eyes sparkled with emotion and she could see that he was similarly affected. She leant forward and gave him a tender kiss. "Both of our wishes have been granted," she whispered against his lips.

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"Man I'm not doing this," said Nick vehemently. "I've already been dressed in the stupidest costume tonight."

"Awww c'mon Nicky, you can't back out now," said Catherine. "We all agreed to play no matter what the dare was."

"Yeah I know," agreed Nick reluctantly. "But this is just so embarrassing."

They were playing a variation on poker, dreamed up by Greg. At the start of the game each person had written several dares on pieces of paper and had put them in a pile in the middle of the circle. The winner of each hand of poker got to draw a dare and select the person to perform it. Greg had just won the last hand and had picked Nick as the unlucky performer.

"Well," said Warrick, ever the voice of reason. "The sooner you start, the sooner it will be over."

"Okay," shrugged Nick. "I guess you're not gonna let me get out of this so here I go."

Standing up he reached over to pick up a Lindsay's tutu and pulled it up his legs, over his jeans until it sat snugly on his waist. "Damn, lucky this elastic has a bit of stretch in it," he grumbled.

This comment only served to trigger uproarious laughter from the other three. The sight of Nick standing in the middle of the room with his muscle shirt covering his upper body and Lindsay's tutu covering his bottom half, was more than they could bear.

In between gasps of laughter, Catherine managed to force out a few words. "Okay Nick, we're ready when you are," she spluttered before collapsing into another fit of the giggles.

Nick shot them all a dark look, his gaze coming to rest on the face of the youngest man in the room. "I'll never forgive you for this Greg," he growled. With that, he began to dance around the room in his re-enactment of 'The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy'.

The laughter of the others went up a notch as Nick began to prance around the room on his tiptoes. Very soon all three were laughing so hard they had tears running down their faces.

Despite his original embarrassment, Nick couldn't help but grin at the sight of his friends. In normal circumstances he was quite happy to let someone else act the clown, but these three were like family and if he couldn't ballet dance in front of them then who could he. Egged on by their laughter he added in a couple of pirouettes, almost tripping himself over in the process. 'Thank goodness I didn't have to wear slippers as well,' he thought to himself.

"Dude," gasped Warrick. "You gotta stop before my sides split," holding his stomach as emphasis.

"No," said Nick grinning evilly. "This is your punishment for making me get up here in the first place," he said, jumping from one leg to the other.

"Stop...please," puffed Greg. "I'm about to pee my pants."

"Well seeing as you put it that way," chuckled Nick, walking back to his position in the circle and sitting down.

"Aren't you gonna take the skirt off," asked Catherine, wiping the tears from her face.

"No," replied Nick patting the fabric of the tutu. "I've become rather attached to it."

Sensing that Catherine was about to launch into another round of laughter, Warrick seized the moment. "Alright," he said. "That was the last dare, so lets just deal one hand and everyone has to show what they got dealt. The person with the winning hand has to go outside to get the lovebirds. Everyone in?"

"Yep," agreed Nick. "But I have one stipulation, whoever goes outside, has to wear the tutu. Okay?"

Everyone reluctantly agreed and Warrick dealt five cards to each person. "Ok Cat, show me what ya got," said Warrick.

"Babe you already know what I got," replied Catherine with a suggestive wink.

"Jeez, can you two give it a break and concentrate on the game for a change," interrupted Greg.

Catherine turned to look at him. "Why? You jealous Greg?" she asked with a smile.

"No," he replied. "I'm just a little anxious to know whether I have to run out into the garden, in a tutu and interrupt the most intimidating man I know, while he's in the middle of...uh...personal business," he blurted.

"Ahhh, the Grissomnoia raises it's ugly head once more," said Nick in mock seriousness.

Greg threw Nick an unamused look and turned back to Catherine. "Can we?" he asked, gesturing at her cards.

"Okay, calm down," she smirked. "I have a pair of fives," she said proudly.

"Well that's more than what I have," followed Nick. "I've got a hand full of nothing," he said, laying his cards on the floor. "I guess it's someone else's turn to wear this baby," he grinned, standing to remove the frilly skirt.

"Damn," mumbled Greg. "I know it's gonna be me...I have a pair of twos," he said putting them down on the floor. "And, a pair of eights," he sighed, showing the rest of his cards. He made a reach for the tutu but was stopped by Warrick's hand on his arm.

"Must be your lucky day Greggo," smiled the older man ruefully. "Three of a kind."

Greg let out a huge sigh of relief and passed the tutu to Warrick. "Sorry," he said, although deep down he wasn't sorry at all.

"Whoa," said Nick. "What are the chances of that, three of you getting decent cards on the first deal."

"Yeah," agreed Catherine. "Anyone would think it was scripted," she said with a shrug.

"Okay, here goes nothing," announced Warrick, standing and pulling on the tutu.

"Damn War, you look hot," said Nick, grinning broadly.

Warrick gave a small curtesy in reply, setting off a whole new set of giggles.

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Grissom and Sara were still cocooned together on the rug. Their voices murmured in quiet conversation as they shared a closeness that had long been missing.

Suddenly a figure came into view. "Uh Griss," said Sara uncertainly. "Are you seeing what I am?" she asked.

Grissom began to chuckle, his body shaking against Sara. "Well if you're seeing Warrick dressed in a tutu, then yes I am," he replied.

As Warrick walked closer, they could see that he looked somewhat uncomfortable. The fact that he was still dressed in his brown furry suit only added to the hilarity of the situation. Without the antlers and red nose, he now resembled more of a brown bear than a reindeer. In fact, with the addition of the tutu he could almost pass for a dancing bear at the circus.

"Hey War," Sara greeted him. "Nice skirt," she said, flashing him a smile.

"Yeah," added Grissom. "It really accentuates your manly figure," he quipped. "You lose a bet?"

"Ironically enough, I won," Warrick replied with a wry smile. "Anyway my reward, as it were, was to come out here in drag and let you know we are about to wrap things up inside," he explained.

"That time already huh" replied Sara. "We'll be right in," she said with a wink.

Warrick smiled back at her. "Take your time," he said, turning to walk back to the house.

"Now that's an image that won't leave my mind for a while," smiled Grissom, as they watched Warrick's bear-like figure walk away from them, the tiny skirt on his waist, billowing in the gentle breeze.

"Sounds like they had fun," giggled Sara.

"Yeah," agreed Grissom. "But not as much fun as we did," he whispered, placing another gentle kiss on her neck.

Sara turned so that she could see the man that had captured her heart so long ago. "I know," she agreed. "I don't want this night to end," she admitted quietly.

Grissom reached out to caress her cheek. "Although tonight will surely end," he said gently. "It is only the beginning for us."

Sara felt herself melt at his words and she leant forward to steal another kiss, her heart about to explode with happiness. "Let's go join the others," she said.

THE END

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